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Highest Increase in FDI Employment in a Single Year in 2021

IDA Ireland, the inward investment promotion and development agency of the Irish Government, reported a record breaking year for FDI employment with significantly higher levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2021 compared with 2020 and strong gains recorded in both gross and net employment.

Total employment in IDA client companies in Ireland now stands at 275,384, up 16,826 on 2020. 104 of the 249 investments won in 2021 were new name investments, a better than anticipated new name performance considering the ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic.

Growth in employment in 2021 brought the number of people employed in the FDI sector in Ireland to 275,384 from 258,558 last year.  Job losses remained at a relatively modest level relative to the size of the overall portfolio resulting in an extremely strong net employment growth this year – (16,826 net increase).

Growth in regions was particularly buoyant with 53% – 133 projects of the 249 investments won going to regional locations and employment growth recorded in every region of the country. The strong growth in regional investment was supported by IDA Ireland’s property programme. A robust property and infrastructure ecosystem can be the key differentiator in winning FDI projects, as evidenced by the record regional results achieved under IDA’s Winning 2015-2019 strategy. This positive momentum has been maintained since the commencement of our new strategy.

The 2021 figures show a pattern of sustained, robust growth in FDI investment and FDI-related employment over a continuous period of more than ten-years. This year’s results represent a strong start to IDA’s new 2021-2024 strategy, Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth, which seeks to further enhance FDI’s place at the centre of a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive Irish economy. 

An Tánaiste & Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. said, “these results are quite remarkable. In another year that was unfortunately mired by the pandemic, we saw the highest FDI employment creation figures we’ve ever had in a single year. There are now more people employed in our multinational sector than ever before – 275,384. I think this demonstrates the strength of our economy and the fortitude of our people. Despite immense challenges, we continue to maintain our reputation as an excellent place to invest. This is a testament to the talent of our workforce and our overall offering as a country.

“The success of our multinational sector has allowed us sustain other areas of our economy that are struggling. FDI is central to our economic policy and it will continue to be a crucial part of our plan to rebuild after Covid. I’m particularly happy to see that over half of all investments won in 2021 went to locations outside of Dublin and had a really good spread nationwide. We will continue to focus on how we can attract investment across all parts of the country. Achieving over a decade of consistent FDI growth is a huge accomplishment, given the challenges our country faced during that time; recessions, Brexit and the pandemic among others. Thanks to Martin Shanahan and the IDA Ireland team for their work.”
 
Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland said, “these 2021 results were achieved in an immensely challenging and volatile international environment. Ireland’s performance in attracting FDI to achieve these record results is testament to the work of the Agency’s teams in Ireland and around the world, to the success of the client companies that we partner with on a daily basis and to the support of Government. Looking at the period 2020/2021, despite the challenges faced by individual companies, to date FDI in Ireland has come through the pandemic relatively unscathed. This is largely down to the sectors that IDA has targeted over the past decade – Technology, Pharma, Medical Technology, International Financial Services, Business services, Engineering and Food – those sectors that underpin a modern economy.

“In addition to employment growth last year, we now know from the forthcoming ABSEI survey that expenditure within the economy by FDI companies increased by 8.8% during 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. This resilience and growth from FDI has shored up our economy and the national finances. In 2021, there have been 249 investments compared to 246 investments in the same period last year – 104 of those investments are from new name investors coming to Ireland for the first time. The high level of new name companies and the significant investment in R&D demonstrate a level of future proofing of FDI.

“FDI in Ireland has experienced staircase growth in employment terms for over a ten-year period linked to successful FDI strategies, however, we cannot rest on our laurels. Ireland has to do more to remain attractive in an extremely competitive global environment for FDI. IDA clients are embracing a green and digital recovery, and we must continue to focus on making Ireland an attractive place for talent and provide the necessary infrastructure and utilities that companies need to make it easy to set up and build their business in Ireland.
  
“IDA is also cognisant of international issues, including the spread of Covid-19 variants of concern, the varying level of vaccination rates across countries, the future trajectory of monetary and fiscal policies should current inflationary pressures last longer than expected over the course of 2022, supply chain challenges, climate change, and geo-political developments that will potentially impact on investors’ decision making.”

“In January 2021 we launched our new strategy ‘Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth – 2021-2024’ with regional development, once again, as one of its key pillars and these results are a strong start towards our strategy objective of winning half of the 800 target investments for regional locations. In 2021 investments to regional locations, at 133, is the largest number of investments on record.  And, importantly, this growth was seen in every region of the country. IDA client companies now employ 151,676 people regionally.

“If further steps are taken to improve Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to live and do business, the remarkable growth, resilience, and innovation exhibited by IDA’s client base over 2021 – and for much of the last 10+ years – provide an immensely valuable and nationally important platform for the future.”

Source: IDA Ireland

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